Rolex produced a number of “Air” models during and immediately after World War II, all for the British Royal Air Force and its pilots. The Air-King was released in 1945. Its 34mm case was considered large at the time, hence the “King” name. At its release, the Air-King was part of a collection of Air watches that included the Air-Lion, Air-Tiger, and Air-Giant, but the Air-Kings reign outlasted the others.
The first Air-King was Reference 4925, which is now a rare find. It has many of the same features of other Rolex bubblebacks of the era, with a cream dial and even-numbered Arabic numerals. This model was followed by a few other references, including the Reference 4499. All of these early Air-King references housed manual-wind Hunter movements, making them very similar to other stainless steel watches in Rolex’s Oyster collection.
The Air-King began to acquire its own aesthetic with the transitional Reference 6652 in 1953, which featured the caliber 1030 ticking inside. This is the reference that introduced the creamy silver dial and stick hour markers that became iconic in the subsequent Reference 5500.
WATER RESISTANT: 100m
CASE DIAMETER: 40MM
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